Our News, Your News
By Jack Hargreaves, November 12, '21
Hi all, sporadic newsflash time. Last week was the American Literary Translators Association conference, so for something a little different before the links, I thought I'd speak to fellow ALTA mentee, Jenna Tang (Chieh-Lan Tang), about her work.
Under the guidance of editor and translator Mike Fu, Jenna has been translating Taiwanese author Lin Yi-Han’s debut novel Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise, which, as an unflinching depiction of rape culture and misogyny as foundational to social stability, was instrumental in the start of the #MeToo Movement in Taiwan. Jenna has already finished the translation and is on the lookout for a suitable publisher, so watch this space.
Jenna chose the book because of how close to home its contents feel for her. She attended the same university as Yi-Han and says she can relate to experiences the author describes of corruption within the Taiwanese educational system and of the dangers that haunt female students day to day yet constantly get overlooked.
Jenna's plan now that the program has come to an end, besides enjoy the conference this week and continue her literary translation journey, is to start a column about literary translation, multilingualism, and home & languages, focusing more on her own writing as well as giving space to spotlighting the work of other translators with book reviews. Again, watch this space!
Thanks Jenna! Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future, we'll always feature it here.
We'll be developing this editorial feature in future issues, so please share if there is anyone/anything you'd like us to talk to in more detail. And if you'd like to receive those future issues straight into your inbox, remember to subscribe here.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Join the author and translators Nicky Harman and James Trapp for the launch of Open-Air Cinema, Su Tong's newest collection of Sanwen in translation.
When this narrative nonfiction book was published in China in 2010, it sold more than 250,000 copies. With its impassioned criticisms of the despair and hardships of life in China’s countryside, now sensitively rendered in English by Emily Goedde, some might wonder if such a book could be published today. But Liang’s scholarship, which spans reportage, criticism and analysis, is fair-minded and sanguine; she is already working on a third instalment (a second was published in China in 2013, to great acclaim).
Part of the full list of longlisted titles, in alphabetical order, is as follows:
Nana Ekvtimishvili, The Pear Field, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press, 2020)
Annie Ernaux, A Girl's Story, translated from French by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020)
Jenny Erpenbeck, Not a Novel, translated from German by Kurt Beals (Granta, 2020)
Yan Ge, Strange Beasts of China, translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang (Tilted Axis Press, 2020)
Hiromi Kawakami, People from My Neighbourhood, translated from Japanese by Ted Goossen (Granta, 2020)
Mieko Kawakami, Breasts and Eggs, translated from Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd (Picador, 2020)
Esther Kinsky, Grove, translated from German by Caroline Schmidt (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020)
Camille Laurens, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, translated from French by Willard Wood (Les Fugitives, 2020)
By Helen Wang, November 2, '21
With #COP26 underway, can we try and put together a list of Chinese fiction in English translation on themes of the environment and climate change? I'll start with a few links below, please add more in the comments!
By Helen Wang, November 2, '21
link to Bloomsbury Publishing website "An all-in-one craft guide and anthology, this is the first creative writing book to find inspiration and guidance in the diverse literary traditions of Asia. Including exemplary stories by leading writers from Japan, China, India, Singapore and beyond as well as those from Asian diasporas in Europe and America, The Art and Craft of Asian Stories offers an exciting take on the traditional how-to writing guide by drawing from a rich new trove of short stories beyond the western canon which readers may never have encountered before..."
By Jack Hargreaves, October 18, '21
Hi all! I'm going to keep the intro short here for the purpose of expediency - I have deadlines - but fear not, the next issue will contain a big, nutritious portion of editorial.
Top of the agenda are imminent events which will be missed if not signed up for ASAP. First to note is this year's symposium by the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing (happening this weekend!), and second is translator Christina Ng's online seminar "Translating Multilingual Texts", which Catapult have kindly offered our readers a 20% discount for, code below. This doesn't mean the other events are not worth attending, far from it, but I'll let you peruse the offerings below at your leisure.
New and aspiring translators, please direct your attention to the news that applications for the 2022 ALTA Emerging Translator Mentorship Program are open! I am now at the tail end of a mentorship with Jeremy Tiang and it has been, and I say this sincerely, a life-changing program. Get applying!
Beyond that there are shining reviews of new and upcoming books (and a not-so-shining review of Jia Zhangke's latest documentary), a story from the NEW PATHLIGHT ISSUE, extracts from Chen Qiufan's forthcoming book and from Chan Yu-Ko's Whisper, and a whole host of interviews with HK & Taiwan authors and translators. And, naturally, so much more... it's an exciting world out there isn't it!
Remember that you can sign up for the email version of this newsletter here and receive it straight into your inbox as soon as it comes out.
"Authors including Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Olga Tokarczuk, Max Porter, and Bernardine Evaristo lead the UK's Society of Authors’ appeal to see translators come out of the shadows and be credited on book covers. ... Within some 48 hours of being released by Jennifer Croft and Mark Haddon, the open letter issued by the Society of Authors – and backed by the American Authors Guild – has surpassed 1,400 signatures, each representing an author’s commitment to press her or his publisher to name #TranslatorsOnTheCover."
By Jack Hargreaves, September 21, '21
Autumn is here, a time of year I actually really like, and there's certainly a lot to celebrate at the moment! On a personal note, I might be able to travel to the American Literary Translator's Association conference next month, the virtual leg of which has already started. Then there's the approaching completion of a big Paper Republic project which a few of the members have been plugging away at for over a year by now, and which has involved contributions from tens of wonderful people at this point. Watch this space.
On top of those, it's what is, I suppose, an unofficial award season in the world of translated literature, or at least one of them. And there are plenty of congratulations to go around: Sanmao, Mike Fu, Can Xue, Karen Gernant, Chen Zeping, Ge Fei, Canaan Morse, Chiou Charng-Ting, May Huang, Tracy K. Smith, Changtai Bi, David Hinton...
There are also a number of exciting events coming up, one of which involves Nicky Harman, in conversation with Jun Liu, and another which will be led by Jennifer Wong. Booking information can be found via the links below.
Last but not least -- although this is a different kind of announcement to the ones above -- if you are an author, translator, publisher or organisation with a Chinese-literature related event coming up and you'd like to share some information about it, say a few words, share an idea you have, please do get in touch and we'll feature you/it in an upcoming newsletter both on the site and in the email version (which you can sign up to here).
Just a heads up before we get into the news, in case you haven't noticed or have been confused, we've reset the counter on the issue number, in order to align the site and subscription versions. Anyway, on with what you're here for!
In prose, we've got Can Xue's I Live in the Slums, translated by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping, and Sanmao's Stories of the Sahara, translated by Mike Fu.
In poetry, Yi Lei's My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree, translated by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi, and The Selected Poems of Tu Fu, translated by David Hinton.
Best of luck to all!
The publication of Hard Like Water marked a milestone in literature about the Cultural Revolution. It constituted an original iteration of “scar literature,” a genre popular in the calamity’s wake in which, through the melodramatic recounting of trauma, victim and — frequently — victimizer alike find redemption, their roles blurred. Scar literature’s question of moral responsibility persists in Yan’s novel.
By Eric Abrahamsen, August 23, '21
Here at the Ides of August (well, close enough), we bring you portentous news: there's been a changing of the guard at Paper Republic! Our esteemed colleague Yvette Zhu is stepping down from management team duties, owing to the time pressures of her actual job, that pays her an actual salary. She's has served admirably during this time. In fact her greatest contributions have yet to see the light of day – but more about that soon! We are sorry to see her go, and secretly hope she'll be back soon.
In the meantime, this sad news is balanced out by the addition of three new members to Paper Republic's management team: please welcome Jennifer Wong, Megan Copeland, and Danny Parrot to the dugout! Each has their own quite distinct background, and brings their own strengths to the team. We really look forward to expanding our roster of projects with their help.
What's happening, otherwise? It's Women in Translation month, that's what! Worlds Without Borders has a list of 11 translated books by Asian women writers, and you can also check out US PEN, Lithub, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses and many other locales for relevant reading lists. We also note that there's currently no way to search the Paper Republic database for works by female writers, translated by female translators, and we resolve to add that capability.
By Nicky Harman, August 6, '21
"...The novel simultaneously challenges the crystal cage of marriage and the family, and the coercive nature of the state, picking apart the idea of ‘love of family and country’ and revealing its absurdity. It makes a forceful appeal for justice for the casualties of family and national strife."
Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing has a new section dedicated to reviews translated from Chinese. First up, an insightful and thoughtful review of Xu Xiaobin’s Crystal Wedding (Balestier, 2016), by Hu Xingzhou 胡行舟, translated by Megan Copeland and Nicky Harman. Read it here.
By Jack Hargreaves, August 1, '21
Hello again! You must have been champing at the bit to receive this next issue of our newsletter. Well you need wait no longer. It's been a busy time for the PR management team, what with the delights that were the Aberdeen Festival of Chinese Translation and Bristol Translates as well as our working toward some big announcements we can make soon. Watch this space. Then there's the small matters of the welcome distraction, the Olympics, followed eagerly by Nicky and Emily, upcoming camping trips for Jack and Eric, and big work projects and exams for Yvette and Lirong.
Anyway, first for a little housekeeping. Remember back to May 2020? (I don't know about you, but I can't tell if it feels like yesterday or ten years ago with the past year and a bit the world has had.) So whether you do remember or not, a reminder: Paper Republic collaborated with Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing to run Give-it-a-go, bringing together 124 translators plus ourselves to have a go at translating Deng Anqing's "Forty Days: Growing Closer to My Parents during Quarantine" (read the joint translation here). Since then, this piece and others from the Epidemic Series have been translated into Spanish, here, here, here and here, plus, I believe, into Slovenian, somewhere. The new good news is that, more recently, Deng's account of lockdown at home is now available in Danish, in DanmarkKina magazine #115. It feels good for PR to have played a role in giving these stories a broader, more international readership.
Second on the agenda is a redaction. The previous newsletter claimed that author Yan Ge was performing the superhuman feat of abandoning her native Chinese language to write fiction in English. We've since been gently corrected: she's performed the ultra-human feat of DOING BOTH: while her debut English-language collection and novel are in the pipeline, she's working on her next Chinese novel. It's the Dublin water.
And lastly, word has come over the transom of a new short-story collection by sci-fi writer Wang Weilian (王威廉), entitled Wild Future (野未来). The Chinese-language publisher has been in touch about an English translation of the 11 stories in the collection -- stay tuned.
We have a packed edition this time around, it being the accumulation of over a month of news, stories, poems and reviews. The conclusion from it all is: watch for your TBR list and bookshelves in the next year filling up with anything and everything Jeremy Tiang translates and recommends...
You can enter an English translation of any poem out of any language for the Stephen Spender Prize. Here are some suggestions for Chinese entries.
The Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation, in association with The Guardian, is now open for entries. Anybody in the UK and Ireland can enter, regardless of age or linguistic skill. SST’s Multilingual Creativity hub is full of virtual resources to make the prize accessible from home, as well as teaching packs to bring poetry translation into the classroom.
This year the prize is more inclusive and vibrant than ever, from British Sign Language translation to new prizes for first-time entrants. SST’s virtual poetry booklets collect together poems in more than 15 languages.
This year’s judges are acclaimed poets, translators and educators Khairani Barokka, Daljit Nagra and Samantha Schnee.
Closing date: 16 July 2021.
Categories: Open (adult), 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under
Top prize of £1,000
All winning entries published in a booklet
Special 'Spotlight' prize for translation from Urdu, judged by Sascha Aurora Akhtar.
In China the result was a true literary sensation. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies, won many of China’s top literary prizes, spurred imitations and caused a national discussion about the costs of modernization. Liang’s book reflected what she calls a national sense of “psychological homelessness” — a feeling that change has overwhelmed institutions that for millenniums had been the bedrock of Chinese society, especially the family and the village.
China in One Village fuses modes of first-person narration. Despite its sociological bent, the book is structured around the author’s personal experience of a homecoming: her return to Liang village after many years studying and working in Beijing. The contrast is acute: when she arrives at the railway station with her young son, he points to the muddy, rubbish-covered platform – and declares he does not want to get off.
By Jack Hargreaves, June 22, '21
Here's your fortnightly round-up of recent news regarding Chinese literature, the people who write it, the people who translate it, and the people who read it.
What's going on these days? Yan Ge has switched to writing in English, that's what. And how: her debut English-language story collection and novel have already sold, to Faber and Scribner. While this is obviously objectively awesome news, there is something a tiny bit bittersweet about it for those of us who translate. Nothing has been lost, we tell ourselves. Nothing lost! We have not asked Jeremy Tiang for a quote, but imagine him gazing fondly yet a little forlornly at a copy of Strange Beasts of China (which is hot in Philly).
If you're tired of books (as if), why not watch some book-related movies next month? The Chinese Visual Festival has a great line-up of Chinese-language film, including a screening of Jia Zhangke's Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, a documentary about three Chinese authors (Yu Hua, Jia Pingwa, and Liang Hong) and their connection to the land. Note that the related event with Jia Pingwa and Liang Hong has been cancelled, as well as a few of the film screenings, as well as... Well, more about that in the next newsletter.
Other news from the Republic: we're scrambling to keep up with a multitude of educational projects, running workshops and talks in partnership with Aberdeen University, judging submissions for the Anthea Bell Prize for Young Translators, and gearing up for the Bristol Translates summer school. Meanwhile Nicky hates Microsoft Teams, Jack has mastered the art of Twitter-fishing, and Eric, despite decades of working between continents, still can't keep his timezones straight.
And here's something that doesn't happen often enough: we're hearing a lot of buzz from inside China about a new Chinese-language novel. It's titled Folk Music 《民谣》, by a literary critic named Wang Yao (王尧). It came out in Harvest (收获) magazine in 2020 – still for our money the best literary magazine in China – and was published in book form this past April by Yilin Publishing House. Both the magazine and the publishing house have gotten in touch with us to tell us how much they loved the book, and how much they think someone should translate it. It seems to be a work of autofiction, set in northern Jiangsu province during the 1970s, a finely-experienced story of the narrator and his family. We'll let you know what we think!
Remember, if you want to receive these newsletters straight into your inbox every fortnight, sign up here.
And, finally, the actual news:
Nicky Harman and Helen Wang talk at Gwyl Haf literary festival.
The festival has happened but the interview is now online and can be viewed on Youtube.
By Jack Hargreaves, June 6, '21
I'm going to start off with the reminder this week: you can subscribe here to receive this newsletter straight into your inbox every fortnight! And if you are already signed up, please check your junk/spam/trash folder on Tuesday evening in case the email hasn't arrived yet.
Now for the news: first of all I'd like to point you to all the poetry that has been dug up from the archives or newly published online in commemoration of a certain anniversary this month. Powerful stuff - a lame analysis I know, but the poems speak for themselves. Next, it's Pride month, and there's lots that is related going on within Chinese-language lit for us to be happy about. One thing is the continued and welcomed publication of reviews and extracts from The Membranes, and another is the release of a new book from one of my favourite authors, Chen Xue 陳雪, Dear Accomplice (親愛的共犯), a detective novel published by Mirror Fiction, though no translation available as yet of course! AND -- this just released as I was about to post -- Words Without Borders' 12th annual queer issue contains two translations from Chinese! And for the rest, well, have a see for yourself below: